Bars are more than just places to hang gears and brake levers as they are also instrumental in determining bike stability and handling characteristics. Moreover, a well-adjusted handlebar-hood arrangement will allow for hours of comfortable riding. On the other hand, getting the wrong position might result in suffering from neck, shoulder and lower back pain, as well as running the risk of handlebar palsy.
When choosing the right handlebar size, one should carefully consider the following points (related first to the frame size):
Road handlebar width would normally stretch in between 38 to 46 cm and the handlebar choice is normally based on the respective person height. That means one would opt for a handlebar which is the same width as the distance between your AC joint and the person shoulders so that when holding handlebars in the drop the knuckles are outside the line of the shoulders.
Two important points are to bear in mind here:
- Narrower handlebar allows aerodynamic position
- Wider handlebar makes the bike to feel more stable and therefore easier to control. One can always size up or down depending on priorities.
Reach is defined as the distance that the bar extends from the clamp area. Different handlebar designs would normally have different reaches. Reach governs how far forward the rider will have to stretch. Taller riders are generally prescribed a longer reach as it is proportioning the respective height, whereas smaller riders will have lesser reach
Drop is defined as the distance between the top and the bottom of the handlebar. A bar with a shorter drop is likely to make a transition from riding in the break hoods to the drops easier as well as requiring less stretching of rider’s back, hips and shoulders; whereas handlebars with more drop would normally require much more movement. Drop is generally chosen based on the respective height.
Lots of people would normally benefit from with much less drop A long drop handlebar would normally be around 150mm, a medium drop one around 135 mm and a compact handlebar at around 120mm.
The shape of the drop usually varies from bar to bar. There are 3 main types:
This type has been around since the dawn of handlebars
This type is less curved and has a flat section on the drops as for making it more comfortable
- Variable Radius
This type presents a very pronounced top flat section.
When choosing the shape of the drop there one must consider the following:
- Getting the brake hoods in the right place
- Minimizing the amount of bending in the rig when riding the drops
How to choose the perfect handlebar?
The drive system allows bike riders to choose the perfect handlers. The system requires the rider to measure the width of the palm of your hand. From this, one can determine the optimum shape and size of handlebar.